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Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ears or head in which no external sound is present. It is most often described as ringing, although it can also be perceived as hissing, buzzing, whistling, or roaring to name a few. Tinnitus is pronounced either ti-NIGHT-us or TIN-i-tus. Both pronunciations are correct. The word is of Latin origin, meaning “to ring or tinkle like a bell.”

Typical Causes

graphics-canoe-tinnitus3While the exact physiological cause or causes of tinnitus are not known, there are several known sources which trigger or worsen tinnitus.

  • Noise damage
  • Age related hearing loss
  • Conditions of the ear
  • Certain medications

There are many more auditory and nonauditory reasons for tinnitus, but it is well accepted that tinnitus is somehow the result of the brain’s reaction to impaired hearing.

Common Difficulties:

Tinnitus is often accompanied by a series of common difficulties.

  • Sleeping problems
  • Annoyance, irritation
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Despair and frustration
  • Problems focusing on speech
  • Concentration difficulties


If you would like more information on tinnitus, please visit our tinnitus management page.